Speed Reads

'oh sh--'

The 'sobering' meeting ahead of Kabul's fall

There have been plenty of tragic, gut-wrenching, and solemn moments in Afghanistan's continued unraveling, but according to Politico, one involved U.S. official cited a particular meeting last week as his 'oh, sh--' moment — or, the moment the country's collapse became a total emergency.

Early on August 12, President Biden's national security Cabinet gathered together for a pressing intelligence briefing, in which officials reportedly determined the situation in Afghanistan to be so "fluid" that the government in Kabul could fall to the Taliban "within weeks or days," Politico reports.

"It was a pretty sobering meeting," said the official. "We thought we had months ahead of us to draw down the embassy and do processing and relocation." But now, with the Taliban gaining ground "by the hour," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was recommending Biden send in troops to evacuate the embassy and protect Kabul's main airport — a decision with which every Cabinet member "unanimously agreed." 

That was the "oh, sh--" moment, said the same official. With that decision, the situation in Afghanistan officially became a crisis, writes Politico.